Myth busting: Fruits with bad reputations
While fruit does contain natural sugar in the form of fructose, it is also a great source of dietary fibre and antioxidants shown to be protective for our health. This is why the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend two serves of fruit a day for good health.
Let’s look at the three top fruits that have earned a ‘bad’ reputation, and why they shouldn’t be ruled out.
Bananas are a low GI fruit rich in potassium and a great source of fibre. Contrary to popular belief, there is no fat in a banana and in the context of eating a well-balanced diet, they are certainly not ‘fattening’.
Some people may believe that bananas contain ‘too much sugar’. While bananas do contain sugar, the starch and natural sugar content changes depending on how ripe a banana is and the most important factor is the total carbohydrate content per serve. A small banana translates to one exchange of carbohydrate, making them well suited to a snack. A large or extra-large banana can translate to two exchanges, so if this is above what you are recommended, only eat half.
These delicious round berries come in a wide variety of types and are the original source of antioxidants found in wine. Compared to wine however, grapes are better for the waist line and higher in water content, making them a hydrating snack. While some are concerned about the sugar content of grapes, they are in fact Low GI and a handful (20 grapes) is equivalent to just one carbohydrate exchange.
Like grapes, watermelon has a high water content which is thought to be responsible for the natural sugars being more easily absorbed into your blood stream. While watermelon is a High GI fruit, 1½ cups of this refreshing fruit is the equivalent to one exchange of carbohydrate, and can still be enjoyed.
Lastly, as the saying goes, there is also the case of too much of a good thing and if you love fruit, you may be wondering, what is the danger of enjoying more than two serves per day? Chances are you may be displacing one of the other core foods recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines such as dairy, or vegetables. For the crunch factor, swap your surplus serves of fruit for raw veggies, or switch to a small tub of yoghurt, a boiled egg or handful of nuts.